Anita Morton - Growing Gardens

Planting the Queen of Flowers

Once youve chosen your new rose and selected the planting site, its time to get the soil ready. Roses like a fairly neutral, heavy soil with plenty of organic matter incorporated into it. If your soil is light or sandy, add as much compost or well-rotted manure as you can get your hands on.

Sprinkle on a double handful of dolomite per square metre and incorporate it as you dig. Give each rose a circle of improved soil about 70 to 90 cm wide. Dont skimp on this as the old saying goes, Dont put a ten dollar plant in a two dollar hole.

Bare-rooted roses should arrive in shops (or by post if youve mail-ordered them) in June. Select them and get them home as quickly as you can, for although they can survive quite well for up to a month, they will get knocked about as people look for a good one.

Since youve already prepared your planting site, you can go ahead and put the rose in straight away. Cut off the plastic bag and hose the sawdust or wood shavings off. Take a good look at the roots. Any that are twisted, limp or broken should be pruned off. Look for healthy buds and trim back the stems to just above them if necessary. Identify the graft union so youll know how deep to plant.

Dig the hole and make a shallow dome in the centre. Plonk the rose in on top, spreading the roots out as evenly as possible. Backfill with soil, watering as you go to eliminate air pockets. Tamp down firmly, and mulch over the top. Now your rose only needs watering if the weathers very dry, plus a dose of slow-release rose food as soon as growth starts, early in spring.


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